Hooks Baseball: Astros top prospect Leon adjusting to first pro season

Rey Castillo
Corpus Christi Caller Times

Pedro Leon isn't shy about his faith.  

It's what's helped the 22-year-old baseball star from Cuba adapt to a new country, new teammates and even a new position. 

Leon, who is in first season with the Hooks, has remained poised throughout his transition from the outfield to shortstop in his first professional season. 

"The biggest thing through everything has been praying to God and staying close to God," Leon said through his interpreter Rafael Peña. "This is where I want to be. Now that I am here (in the United States) I want to continue trusting in God."

Hooks infielder and Houston Astros prospect Pedro Leon during a workout on Monday, May 3, 2021 at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Leon got off to a slow start at the Double-A level, but is starting to show why he's the No. 2 prospect in the Houston Astros organization.

Leon hit his first home run of the season — a game-tying, two-run blast on May 14 against the Frisco RoughRiders.

Four days later, he hit a grand slam in the Hooks' 10-8 win against the Arkansas Travelers on Tuesday night at Whataburger Field.

Both of his long balls resulted in wins for Corpus Christi. 

"At the beginning of the season, I was trying to do a little bit too much and getting anxious," Leon said. "If I continue to work hard, I know good things are going to happen. If you work hard, you're going to get good results. I know it's going to happen, so I can't do too much."

Leon is not only ranked as one of Houston's top prospects, but is the No. 7 international prospect in all of Major League Baseball.

Leon blossomed in Cuba after hitting .359 with 21 home runs with the Huracanes de Mayabeque of the Cuban National Series.

Leon hit .383 and 15 home runs during the 2018 season and was selected as an All-Star.

Leon said he hopes to carry that same success with the Hooks and one day, the Astros.

“We have a lot of confidence that he is an above-average defender in center field," Astros general manager James Click told the Houston Chronicle in April. "But at the same time, if he has the potential to learn shortstop, it opens up a lot of potential avenues for us."

Pedro Leon, left and Hooks hitting coach Rafael Pena.

Leon said he's had to stay mentally strong being away from his family.

Another challenge he's had to overcome is not being able to speak English.

"I had to get myself mentally strong to adjust to those situations," Leon said. 

Leon said being the Astros top prospect is what drives him to play at a high level every game. His motivation to play comes from his father, who also played baseball in Cuba.

"I want to make people proud. I want to make my dad proud," Leon said. "All the people that have helped me, the Astros and my hitting coaches. I want to make them all proud."